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BUS STOP By William Inge
The phones are out of order at street corner
restaurant on a snowy early morning thirty miles
from Kansas city. It is1 a.m., and restaurant
proprietor Grace Hoylard and her teenage
waitress Elma Duckworth await the arrival of the
Kansas city-to-Wichita Bus. Will Masters, the
local Sheriff, comes into and tells Grace that
blizzard has closed the roads; the bus will need
to stop at the restaurant until further notice. The
bus arrives, and passengers enter the
restaurant. They will be marooned together
until just before sunrise.
Cherrie, a young woman in flashy clothes and
wearing too much make up, ask sheriff Will for
protection from a cowboy who is still on the bus.
Cherrie claims that the young cowboy had abducted
her from her job as a singer at the Blue Dragon
nightclub in Kansas city. Dr. Gerald Lyman, an alcoholic
has been college professor in his fifties, makes a
connection with Elma. Carl, the bus driver, shares a
flirtation with Grace at the counter. Cherrie tells Elma
about as a chanteuse, or nightclub singer, and about
her family background. Carl and Will have a brief
exchange that establishes some information about
Lyman, then Carl announces he is going for a long
walk, which Will finds hard to believe, given the
blizzard. The look between Carl and Grace, however,
reveals that something is up between them.
Lyman quotes poetry to Elma, and they converse
about William Shakespeare with Cherrie. The door to
the restaurant swings open, revealing a young
cowboy, Bo Decker, and his older friend, Virgil
Blessing, who is carrying Bos guitar case. Arguments
ensue between Bo and Will about closing the door and
between Bo and Cherrie about her name is it or is it
not Cherry ? Virgil tries to warn Bo not to antagonize
the sheriff, Bo is headstrong, launching into a tirade
about his ranch and his prowess at the rodeo. He then
orders and sits at the counter to talk to Cherrie. He
hugs and kisses her roughly, which embarrasses
Cherrie, and demonstrates his arrogance and lack of
manners. Grace excuses herself to her apartment,
complaining of a headage. In short, romantic or quasi-
romantic relationships ensue between Grace and Carl,
Based on Students Book English Literature and Its
Teaching by Dr. Hj. Mutmainnah Mustofa, M.Pd, in this
drama, the data analysis contains ethical value as it is a
requirement for human life and our means of deciding a
course of action.Regardless of ethics, our actions would
be random and aimless.This value acts as a general
guide to behaviour or as point of reference in decision.
Hornby in Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary of
Current English states that ethics is the study of right
and wrong in human behavior.(Hornby, 1974). Ethics is
divided into four main point of views, they are ethics to
God, ethics to other people, ethics to nature and ethics
to ourselves. In this case, only ethics to other people,
ethics to ourselves or even ethics in faithfully love is
closely related to the main point of discussion in this
topic. These are the ethical values as follows:
a. Data Analysis 1
Based on what Cherrie said ...put me on it.
(Act One p. 250) indicating that Bo still treats
Cherrie well though she is being abducted.
Bos action of abduction doesnt hurt her
physically as he possibly throws on the seat.
What Bo has done in the quotation of ...put
me on it. shows that he still help Cherrie to
get a seat on the bus. The involvement of Bo
in this case proves that Bo shows the
existence of feeling tenderness to the opposite
sex through his amorous mood as it is a part of
behaviour in ethics in faithfully love.
b. Data Analysis 2
Bo. (picking her up) were goin down and wake up the Justice
of the Peace and youre gonna marry me.(Act Two p. 268)
Described through the lines above, Bo now comes to the process of
love by inviting her to marry as the line Ill make ya a good
husband. A marriage invitation done by Bo to the Justice of the
Peace shows that Bos mind or principle clearly sticks to norms in
the community where he lives. Bos willing to get married to
Cherrie means that he wishes to folow the rules. Bos mind
indicates that after the wedding ceremony happens, a man and a
woman are still in progress in the wedding ceremony as they
immediately become a wife and a husband within the contact of a
married couple. Through Bos statement he himself wishes to be a
husband and he shows that the predicate of husband follows the
existence of ethics to people.
c. Data Analysis 3
Will (he studies Bo for a moment, then goes to him). Cowboy if
yor holdin any grudges against me, I think ya oughta ask yourself
what youda done in my place. Icouldnt let ya carry off the lil lady
when she din wanta go, could I ?
(Bo has no answer. He just avoids Wills eyes. But Will is
determined to get an answer.) could I ? (Act Three p. 271)
Based on the interaction of the characters, Virgil Blessing, the
sheriff and Bo Decker, a cowboy as shown in the above quotation
there is an indication of Bos feeling humbleness through the line of
(...He just avoids Wills eyes...). As depicted by this playwright that
Bos revealation of the earlier character is arrogant, headstrong
and fearless. However, through semiotics Bos eyes movement and
eye contact are able to be identified that Bo definitely tends to
avoid eye contact with Wills, in this case, Bo doesnt show he is
aggressive or arrogant anymore. This occurs after the punishment
or the conflict happens till he is arrested and put in a jail, thus,
there is change or transformation of Bos personality into better
one. It is kind of ethics to ourselves.
d. Data Analysis 4
Bo. Miss... I wanna apologize. Grace: What for. Bo: Fer causing such a
commotion....and...Bo (with an appreciative grin).Thanks.(Now he goes to
Elma U.R.) I musta acted like a hoodlum. I apologize....and...Bo: Cherrie...It
wasnt right a me to treat you the way I did, draggin ya onto the bus,
tryin to make ya marry me whether ya wanted to or not. Ya think ya could
ever forgive me ? (Act Three p. 271-272). Through the course of the play
the description of change of Bos attitude appear good again. Bo begins to
realize that what he has done is really wrong and then he apologizes to
Elma, Grace and Cherrie. Why does he apolize to Grace and Elma ? The
reason is that the word commotion above denotes that he has done
something wrong, e.g. dispute and fighting against the sheriff inside the
restaurant. These actions definitely disturb them though Grace herself likes
seeing the fighting. However, the mess situation left behind after the duel
happens creates the anxious feeling and out of order situation. In another
event, Bo also apolizes to Cherrie as he has ever dragged her to get on the
bus whether she wants or not. The realization of Bo,s apology indicates
that he visibly has a good etiquette. The apology here means that Bo tries
to improve the broken relationship among them. Hopefully, he is free from
the wrongdoing he has ever done. It is kind of ethics to people.
e. Data Analysis 5
Bo (taking out his wallet) Cherry...I got ya here
and I think I oughta got ya back in good style.
So...take this (He hands her a bill)(Act Three p.
272). Described through the lines above, Bo feels
responsible to Cherrie as he has taken her out of
the night club and then he should take her back to
the place where she works. Bo,s responsibility not
only exposed through his statement but also
through his attitude by giving money so that she
will be able to go back to the earlier place. Bos
responsibility to Cherrie, in this case, containing
ethical deed. Thus, human is essentially responsible
to another one or even to God because of his
attitude, utterance. It is kind of ethics to people.
f. Data Analysis 6
Bo I d rather break in wild horsed than have to
do it again (Act Three p. 272). The dialogue that
shows the feeling of Bos regret is visible in the
above quotation. He doesnt want to repeat his
guilt as he has commited disturbance inside the
restaurant. He would rather take a rest in ranch
with wild horses than make trouble. Bos feeling
regretful indicates that the time has come for Bo to
change attitude or etiquette though appreciating
the realization is late, it is still significant to give a
correction. The former he has done something
wrong, the latter he tries to improve his
wrongdoing. It is kind of ethics to ourselves.
g. Data Analysis 7
Bo. I want Charry (and for the first time we observe he is capable of
tears.)(Act Three p. 272). As indicated the above quotation of ...I
want Charry. Bo really wants Cherrie to get along with him to go to
Montana where they can build up a new family to become a married
couple. When Bo says his willingness to posess Cherrie, he experiences
in deep sorrow or sadness. Cherries reaction of refusing Bos love
causes Bos eyes drop tears. In general, it denies dropping tears for
man unless he has any reason involved in his problem happening to
him. When man drops tears, he usually tries hard to hide this
performance in front of his lover. This is caused since a child taught not
to be permitted to drop tears. However, Bo isnt shy to drop tears as
this happens to him naturally. If man easily drops tears when he deals
with emotional situation as Kudia (psychologist) says Dont feel
ackward. It indicates that the nature of masculinity and his emotional
condition are in balance. In this case, Bos performance shows that he
can take care of the existence of mental balance and the nature of
masculinity. Through this event Bo can manage to create his good
etiquette that he has mental balance or mental hygiene. It is kind of
ethics to ourselves.
h. Data Analysis 8
Bo. Cherry, I promised not to molest ya, but if you was to give
yor permission, Id be all right, Id like to kiss ya. gby. ...and...Bo
(not sure what she means). Oh (He looks around at Virgil who turns
quickly away, as though admitting his inability in his arms
cautiously, as though holding, as though holding a precious object
that was still a little strange to him (Act Three p. 274).
Based on the quotation above, Bos change of attitude is not only
done through his dialogue but also through his action. Through the
dialogue I promise not to molest ya shows that there is change of
Bo,s thought as he doesnt want to have ideas to disturb Cherrie.
This is committement coming from his utterance and definitely
shows Bo to have a good etiquette.Another dialogue of ...as though
holding a precious object... reinforces Bo to have a good behavior
and indicates that since then he will also treat Cherrie politely,
gently and cautiously as he doesnt deal with risk and harm. The
action leads to him to have maturity of thinking and personality as
the indication of good etiquette too. It is kind of ethics to ourselves.
i. Data Analysis 9
Bo. I still wish you was goin back to the ranch with me...
(Act Three p. 275). The word wish in this construction
shows that there is a request or hope of marriage invitation
though the speaker is still annoyed.Through this invitation
the situation is democratic whether she wants to fulfil his
request or not but there is no force.This statement is a polite
expression as it indicates that Bo deserves to accept the
predicate of gentleman or a man of refinement posessing the
characteristics of behaviour which is very polite in
utterance, not to compel interest, attentive, captivating,
patient, sensitive, romantic, ready to sacrifice for lover, be
able to protect and fulfil lovers needs. In this case, Cherrie
definitely expects a gentleman to be her husband that is why
she finally fulfils Bos request of marriage invitation. This
event proves that Bo has a good behaviour as he becomes a
gentleman. It is kind of ethics to ourselves.
j. Data Analysis 10
...He stops, take off his leather jacket and helps
Cherrie into it....He has been gallant....,calling their
farewells behind them (Act Three p. 275). Through
the above lines at the end of the play Bos behavior
becomes more mature and more intimate to Cherrie
after he gets commitment from Cherrie that she
wants to live together as a married couple. Bo
doesnt let her body get cold then he takes off his
leather jacket and helps her put on it.Meanwhile, he
still cares about the people he leaves by addressing
them farewell. The final course of play reflects and
proves that Bo isnt lack of manners but he looks
happy, friendly and becomes a gentleman. It is kind
of ethics to people and ethics to ourselves.
The Etiquette Analysis of Bos Love Affair in Bus Stop
can give a reader the lesson of ethical values containing ethics
to ourselves, ethics to people or even ethics in faithfully love.In
this case, Bo doesnt suppose that love is like shadow the more
we runs after, the more far away we leaves, but he thinks that
love is the right of posession belonging to everyone.Therefore,
the first revealation of Bos character is lack of manners as he
likes forcing a woman to be his lover and also he is selfish. This
behavior easily creates a conflict and the conflict definitely
happens in the course of the play. Through the first revealation
of his character is in fail, he introspects his personal character
and then he becomes a gentleman as he is very polite in
utterance, not to compel interest, sensitive, romantic, attentive,
captivating, patient, ready to sacrifice for lover, be able to
protect and fulfil lovers needs. With a right etiquette Bo finally
gets Cherries love. These ethical values are involved in ethics in
faithfully love, ethics to ourselves and ethics to people.
Mustofa, Mutmainnah, Dr. Hj. 2014.
Literary Works Life and Love, Students
Book English Literature and Its Teaching,
Malang. Malang Islamic University
Graduate Program English Language
Teaching Study Program.
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